Until recently, it was difficult to find a decent breakfast in Budapest, since most locals eat breakfast at home. Thanks to the influx of tourists, breakfast offerings have improved considerably. Several restaurants have emerged where trendy interior designs and chic waitstaffs go hand in hand with a well-prepared plate of eggs Benedict. Or avocado toast, in case you were wondering. If you're looking for more locals and relaxed vibes, try these casual breakfast joints instead. Are you past breakfast hours? Check out the hottest dinner places in Budapest, or the best brunch spots for the weekend.
In New York or London, this hip breakfast joint/bistro would be just another fashionable, industrial chic crowd-pleaser: the type of place where tattooed servers run around a sleek, wood-lined interior in bow ties, vintage light bulbs hang from exposed galvanized steel pipes, and semi-alternative R&B tunes set the musical background. In Budapest, many places have tried to emulate this concept. But STIKA, this pocket-sized space in District 7, is the first to get it exactly right. Little inside will remind you that you’re in Budapest, but that’s not the point here.
HILDA is one of the new restaurants that has emerged downtown on the increasingly fashionable Nádor Street. The area has come to life as a growing number of tourists and international students from the nearby Central European University pass through. With a perfect curb appeal, you will notice HILDA's striking interior even before entering the space. For example, an enormous stained glass mosaic covers one of the walls in its entirety, and the bar is studded with four rows of dark blue, glazed Zsolnay ceramic tiles, the same brand that decorates the lobby of the Four Seasons hotel just a block away.
Börze is a sleek downtown bistro that serves uncomplicated traditional Hungarian food from early morning until midnight, seven days a week. Its name pays homage to the enormous 1907 building across the street that used to be the Budapest Stock and Commodity Exchange. With red banquettes and a spacious interior designed to the minute detail, Börze looks similar to a Keith McNally restaurant. .
Szimply is a tiny breakfast-all-day restaurant in the cobble-stoned courtyard of a pre-war downtown building. Thanks to The New York Times, which mentioned Szimply in an article (Budapest is #50), it's next to impossible to find an open table at this closet-sized breakfast nook. They specialize in on-trend, contemporary breakfast and brunch food, like the generously packed avocado toast topped with arugula, figs and goat cheese. Szimply also has 4 types of vegetable/fruit juices, but, unfortunately, they don't serve alcohol.
Curious where the top 1% of Buda residents hang out? Wonder no more. The owners of Déryné Bistro were ahead of the curve in 2007 when they opened this high-end bistro featuring a Balthazar-like interior design. At the time, Déryné was a breath of fresh air in Budapest, when options for fine(r) dining were otherwise largely limited to tacky downtown restaurants with communist-era kitchen practices and a deeply ingrained rip-off culture. Déryné managed to remain popular for all these years, even as other restaurants have sprouted up in Pest with comparable offerings at lower prices.
À la Maison Grand is a chic downtown café in Budapest located on the ground floor of a 1906 art nouveau building (take a glance at the oversized glass mosaic perched atop the building). À la Maison Grand is a popular breakfast and brunch destinations for the fashionable crowd, offerings an all-day breakfast menu with a range of classics like croque madame, Eggs Florentine, and French toast. Some of the dishes come with a slight twist, like the Eggs Benedict, which can be ordered with foie gras (it's delicious). You can also order some of the more zeitgesty breakfast plates at À la Maison like an acai bowl or avocado toast.
Opened almost 20 years ago, Két Szerecsen is a popular bistro located between the stately Andrássy Avenue on one side and the Jewish Quarter’s main artery (Király Street) on the other, occupying a precious piece of no man’s land. The chic interior crammed with tables receives plenty of natural light thanks to the oversized windows. The food offering is exhaustive. As if they tried to please all tastes, Moroccan lamb shoulder with couscous, Thai green curry with prawn, and Hungarian chicken paprikash compete with one another on the long menu.
Sarki Fűszeres is a tiny café located on a quiet corner of Újlipótváros, one of Budapest's unique neighborhoods. Situated along the upscale Pozsonyi Road on the ground floor of a 1940s modernist building, Sarki Fűszeres is best for coffee or breakfast during the warm weather months. That's when the charming outdoor tables are canopied over with greenery. Their breakfast offerings include croissants, ham & eggs, English breakfast, and meat and cheese platters.
Escape the noisy downtown street and enter through the yellow ceramic tiles into the 19th century courtyard of Fekete Café. The marble well located in the center of the tranquil courtyard is one of those turn of the 20th century Budapest surprises that hide behind many sooty facades. Weather permitting, enjoy your morning coffee in the open air courtyard..
For the longest time Budapest didn't used to have many places specialized in breakfast food, even though we all know what a difference a plate of well-prepared scrambled eggs can make to start your day off on the right foot. Part of this gaping void was filled in 2014 when Zoska opened. Zoska is a breakfast-all-day restaurants nestled in a quite downtown backstreet and featuring a shabby-chic interior. Their offerings include international breakfast staples spanning from cold plates to ham & eggs and bundás kenyér, a Hungarian version of the French toast.
Fruccola was one of the pioneers behind the healthy food and salad-for-lunch movement in Budapest in the late-aughts. Their timing was perfect, and diners' enthusiasm hasn't waned since. Besides salads, smoothies, and fresh juices, Fruccola also makes excellent breakfast omelets, which come with salmon or spinach & goat cheese. On weekdays, they serve an ever-changing two course lunch prix fixe heavy on vegetables, but they usually aren't strictly vegetarian.
Liberté is a chic breakfast restaurant located in an elite section of Budapest's downtown peppered with banks and near the Parliament building. The expensive interior design complete with Mid-century modern furniture marries a high-end American diner and a French bistro. No doubt with an intent to draw in tourists, the menu at Liberté includes on-trend international breakfast dishes along with Hungarian classics, meaning that you could very well pair a Hungarian goulash soup with an avocado toast or a tonkatsu sandwich. Unfortunately, however, some of the plates fall short.
Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. The author visits all restaurants incognito.